A Guide to Wedding Stationery

Welcome to the world of options that may be hard to choose between, since they are all just so pretty. Save the Date, formal invitations, RSVP cards, rehearsal dinner invitations, menus, ceremony programs, and escort cards are some of the stationery items you will want to consider ordering or DIY crafting. While tradition has previously dictated a precise ettiquette of how to properly design and transcribe wedding stationery, today we see a more relaxed approach that is purely dependent on your budget and preferences. See how we break down ordering stationery in hopes to simplify the task.


Save the Date

Send at least 6 months prior to the wedding.

Save the Date’s are not mandatory but they do allow you to start the countdown to the big day. As well as, allow out of town guests ample time to figure out their travel plans. Printed stationary, personalized post cards with your photo, magnets, or a designed email are all ways to spread the word. Just make sure you decide on a final guest list first, because once the word is out, it’s out! Save the Date’s are your first sneak peak to your wedding’s theme and color scheme. The information is simple: who, when, where, but be as elaborate or conservative on your design as you’d like. Maybe you are still stuck between two amazing color palettes but time is running out to get them in the mail, go neutral. Send a postcard with your favorite photo of the two of you.

Photo Credit:  So-Min Kang Photography
When mailing items with increased dimensions and weight, make sure to have the right amount of postage.

When mailing items with increased dimensions and weight, make sure to have the right amount of postage.

Formal Invitations

Place order 4-6 months prior to the wedding.

Send them 8 weeks prior to the wedding.

Now, the fun part! Your formal invitations are an extension of the wedding day itself. They should embody your event theme and formality. There are dozens of online companies with huge selections or keep it local, and find a company in your town. They should all be able to provide samples of paper types and printing methods(so many options with each adding a slightly different touch). Prices will vary from $3 to over $50 a set depending on how intricate your design is and how many enclosures you wish to include in your invitation envelope. Decisions like paper stock and weight(material and thickness of the paper), printing methods, and 3D decorations will affect your price per invitation. Common printing methods to note from least expensive to most are: flat printing(creates a smooth surface, quick to print, less cost for more colors, thermography(creates a raised print like engraving but with a resin rather than an impression in the paper), letterpress(hand done with individual letters stamped into the paper, creating an indented feel), and most expesive being egraving(pressing paper onto a etched metal, creating raised lettering on the front of paper). Try finding a stationer that also does calligraphy to cut out extra costs and shipping times. You can also print the names and addresses on your envelopes if calligraphy is out of budget. Shop around a bit to compare rates and quality. There is the perfect, affordable stationery out there for you!

Okay, so you really like the embossed linen, four ply, gatefold card, but have no idea how to properly format your printing. This is where tradition and formality can be stirred up a bit. Traditionally, the bride’s parents hosted the wedding and so their names appeared first, inviting the guests to the union of their daughter and her groom. Times have changed and written dialect has become much more informal. The couple can do the inviting. Both sets of parents can do the inviting. The whole family can do the inviting! Put what makes you happy, in whatever words you choose. It is your day, after all! To be followed, the names of the couple, date and time of the wedding, address of the wedding, notes on attire, and information about the reception (time and address if it is at a different location). An RSVP card is usually included in the invitation, but see below for an alternative option.

Keep it clean and simple.  Photo Credit:  Sweet Memories Photography   Stationery:  Simply Sianne

Keep it clean and simple.

Photo Credit: Sweet Memories Photography

Stationery: Simply Sianne

Or be very theme oriented.  Photo Credit:  Tracey and Martin Photography   Stationery:  Ink and Elegance

Or be very theme oriented.

Photo Credit: Tracey and Martin Photography

Stationery: Ink and Elegance

Consider adding a gatefold.  Photo Credit:  Sweet Memories Photo   Stationery:  Paper and Lace Boutique

Consider adding a gatefold.

Photo Credit: Sweet Memories Photo

Stationery: Paper and Lace Boutique

Or maybe a stamped bellyband.  Photo Credit:  Lara Rose Photography   Stationery:  Only One Mark

Or maybe a stamped bellyband.

Photo Credit: Lara Rose Photography

Stationery: Only One Mark

Invitation Enclosures

RSVP Cards

RSVP cards are traditionally enclosed in the invitation. As we all lead busy lives, we may continue to forget to pop our RSVP in the mailbox; add stamps to your RSVP’s to make it easier for your guests and increase the chances of them being returned. If you know a majority of your guest group is not going to mail back an RSVP, skip the cost of creating stationery and instead have an RSVP option on your wedding website. The Knot, Zola, Wedding Wire, and Minted offer great, easy website set-up. Having your RSVP online also allows you to send out reminders to those who have yet to RSVP.

Travel and Hotel Information

Including travel and accommodation information makes for a more full invitation. However, most of your guests are likely to lose the paper and ask you a few days before the wedding where they are going and where they are staying. This information is best to include in your wedding website, where it can be accessed at any time.

Rehearsal Dinner/ Brunch Invitation

For the guests you wish to invite to a rehearsal dinner or welcome party, you can have a seperate pretty invite for that. If you are inviting everyone to the same event, save a little by printing the information on the bottom of the invitation.

This invitation is full of all the bells and whistles.  Photo Credit:  Evan Rich Photography

This invitation is full of all the bells and whistles.

Photo Credit: Evan Rich Photography

Extra Considerations

Menus

While not standard, place settings do look a bit more enchanting with a menu. Place cards and menus can be combined in one, with the guests name written in calligraphy or printed at the top of the menu.

Photo Credit:  Sweet Memories Photography   Stationery:  Simply Sianne

Ceremony Programs

Keep the theme alive with a simple, yet stylish program. You can introduce your whole wedding party this way to make introductions at the reception easier. They are great ways to keep your guests in the loop and let them know the titles of readings and songs just in case they want to remember them.

Information Cards

An increasing trend, which replaces traditional ceremony programs, are information cards. These fun pieces can be so creative and really fun for your guests. They include things like the story of the couple’s love, fun facts, word searches, scavenger hunts, loved one’s remembrance notes, your ceremony program, and wedding hashtags. Etsy has tons of really awesome templates that you can customize. Just type in “wedding program templates” and you can browse through all the options.

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Escort Cards

Escort cards are your communication to the catering staff on the day of. You want food service to run smoothly and seamlessly. You will have your guest’s name, table number, and a defining feature(colors, icons, designs) to let the caterer know which food option each guest will receive. They usually come in alphabetical order, which makes displaying them quick and easy.

Thank You Cards

Send at most 3 months after the wedding.

The last and quite an important piece of your stationery. Your guests put in a bit of effort to be able to celebrate with you, and so a heartfelt, handwritten thank you note is a great way to show your appreciation. Thank you cards always seem to take forever to start and forever to finish. Set out a certain amount of time each day with a goal of writing 10 and you’d be surprised at how quickly you get them finished! You can order two sets of thank you notes: one for your unmarried names for those gifts and favors you receive prior to the wedding, and another with your married names for those thanks you will send after the wedding.

Finding the right styles and designs for your stationery may take a little time. Once you settle on something you like, it is such a fun process to get the font and colors just right to best showcase your wedding vibes. Have fun with it, and make sure to give yourself enough time!


If you’re looking for an epic planner and wedding designer to create the royal day you deserve, please contact Blue Orchid Events today!